×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

BBC Orders Scottish Series, New True-Life Drama on London Serial Killer

The BBC has ordered up a new true-life drama about a London serial killer from the team behind British ratings sensation “The Moorside,” along with two new Scottish dramas for flagship channel BBC One. Charlotte Moore, the broadcaster’s director of content, announced the new commissions Thursday at the Edinburgh Intl. Television Festival.

“The Barking Murders” will be a new three-part factual drama from Jeff Pope (“Philomena”) and Neil McKay, the team behind “The Moorside,” which broke BBC viewing records for a new drama earlier this year. “The Moorside” (pictured), starring Sheridan Smith, dramatized the 2008 search for a missing British schoolgirl. “The Barking Murders” will tell the story of convicted serial killer Stephen Port from the point of view of the families of his four victims, focusing on the fight to uncover the truth about the deaths.

McKay said of the project: “Four young men with their entire future ahead of them lost their lives in a brutal and tragic way. This is a story not only of the consequences of that loss but also of the extraordinary courage and resilience shown by those who loved them as they sought truth and justice.”

Moore and BBC drama chief Piers Wenger also announced two new four-part dramas to be set and filmed in Scotland, psychological drama “The Cry” and legal thriller “The Victim.”

Both shows will air on BBC One, which remains Britain’s most-watched channel, even among 16-to-34-year-olds, Moore said. “That appetite for people to come together and watch together is still there,” Moore told listeners in Edinburgh, adding: “I’ve always said, ‘Every week of the year, there’s got to be something for everyone on BBC One.’”

Moore also addressed the controversy that erupted last month over the gap in pay between men and women at the world’s most famous public broadcaster. Figures ordered released by the government showed that two-thirds of BBC talent making more than £150,000 ($195,000) a year are men. Ethnic minorities are also severely underrepresented among high earners at the Beeb.

Moore, one of the female high earners, said she would fight for gender equality but also for diversity more broadly. “The fantastic repercussion of all this is that [BBC boss] Tony Hall said, ‘Right, by 2020, we’re going to close that gender pay gap,’” she said. “We need to make sure there is equality. Yes, it’s about gender, but my God, it’s about diversity in a broader sense, too. If we’re going to be a broadcaster that reflects the nation, we’ve got to make sure we reflect the nation on-screen and off-screen.”

She called on other players in the industry to follow the BBC’s pledge. “We need other broadcasters, other institutions, other companies to follow suit,” Moore said. “All of us need to take that commitment.”

Moore also said she wished “Great British Bake Off” well in its new season beginning next week on rival broadcaster Channel 4, which controversially outbid the BBC for new seasons of the blockbuster show. Losing “Bake Off” is a blow for the BBC, but Moore said she had had to make tough financial decisions and consider whether paying so much for “Bake Off” would prevent the BBC from investing in other projects.

“The Cry” is the first TV commission for Scottish production company Synchronicity Films, which previously produced three features, including Andrew Haigh’s acclaimed sophomore film “Weekend.” Set in Scotland and Australia, “The Cry” chronicles the disintegrating psyche of a young woman as she and her husband deal with the abduction of their baby while suffering in the glare of public scrutiny. It is based on a novel by Helen Fitzgerald and adapted by Jacquelin Perske.

“The Cry” is produced by Brian Kaczynski and executive produced by Claire Mundell for Synchronicity. Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Gaynor Holmes will serve as executive producers for the BBC. DRG is handling distribution rights.

STV Productions’ contemporary legal thriller “The Victim,” written by Rob Williams, is told through the eyes of both the plaintiff and the accused. A hard-working family man is the victim of an attack after being identified online as a notorious child murderer living under a new identity. The mother of a murdered teenager is accused of revealing the identity online and conspiring to have the man killed. Is the man actually the child murderer or the tragic victim of mistaken identity?

“The Victim” is executive produced by Sarah Brown and Williams for STV Productions and Kilgarriff and Holmes for BBC One.

“We’ve been very public about trying to boost our drama output as part of our strategy of providing programs that are more relevant for audiences in Scotland – but which can also be enjoyed as compelling stories no matter where you live,” said Donalda MacKinnon, director of BBC Scotland.

“The Barking Murders” is written and executive produced by McKay and executive produced by Pope, the Oscar-nominated and BAFTA-winning writer of “Philomena,” for ITV Studios. Lucy Richer will also serve as executive producer. Ken Horn will serve as producer.

Other commissions announced by Moore include a one-off hour-long documentary “Grenfall,” about the Grenfall Tower fire in West London in June this year, which will be produced by Minnow Films and directed by Ben Anthony. Morgan Matthews will serve as executive producer.

More TV

  • MMA Alters Faces of Asia Sports

    MMA Alters Faces of Asian Sports Broadcasting

    Bruce Lee was ahead of the curve by about four decades when he predicted back in the early 1970s that combat sports would one day take the world by storm. Hong Kong’s favorite son had encouraged his own students to mix up the styles of martial arts they were being trained in — to combine kung fu [...]

  • Variety Kit Harington Game of Thrones

    Kit Harington on How 'Game of Thrones' Mirrors Real-World Politics

    In Variety‘s March 19 cover story, Kit Harington opens up about the final season of “Game of Thrones” and growing into adulthood as part of the biggest show on television. In a conversation in London in December, Harington opened up about the similarities between the series’ politics and our own. “I think it’s always been about [...]

  • Chris O'Dowd

    TV News Roundup: Chris O'Dowd to Star in 'Twilight Zone' Episode

    In today’s roundup, The CW has released two clips from the upcoming “Riverdale” special “Heathers: The Musical,” and Chris O’Dowd will star in an episode of “The Twilight Zone.”  CASTING Chris O’Dowd will star in CBS All Access’ rebooted “The Twilight Zone” episode titled “The Blue Scorpion.” The series will premiere with two episodes on [...]

  • Kevin Tsujihara

    Kevin Tsujihara's Ouster Kicks Off a Week of Major Disruption in the Media Business

    The sudden ouster of Warner Bros. Entertainment chief Kevin Tsujihara kicked off what is likely to go down as one of the most extraordinary weeks in Hollywood history, spelling enormous turmoil and transition across the media landscape. In addition to the news about Tsujihara, which comes amid a wider shake-up of leadership at AT&T’s WarnerMedia, [...]

  • Wendy Williams Sober Living House

    Wendy Williams Reveals She's Been Staying in a Sober-Living House

    Wendy Williams, during an emotional monologue on her talk show on Tuesday, revealed through tears that she has been staying at a sober-living house. “So you know me for being a very open and truthful person,” she began the segment on “The Wendy Williams Show,” fighting through tears. “And I’ve got more to the story [...]

  • Hong Kong Industry Executives Seek Clarity

    FilMart: Hong Kong Industry Executives Plead for Clarity on Mainland Chinese Tax Policies

    At a time of heightened scrutiny of tax affairs in China’s entertainment sector, even industry veterans in Hong Kong are struggling to figure out how to operate in the new financial environment and pleading for more clarity from the Chinese government. Hong Kong produces about 60 films a year, three-quarters of which are typically co-productions [...]

  • Michael Jackson R Kelly

    'Leaving Neverland,' 'Surviving R. Kelly' Composers on How They Scored Sexual Abuse Docs

    How do you put music to child sexual abuse — especially if the accused predators are musical icons? That’s the challenge composers Chad Hobson and Nathan Matthew David faced as they scored HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” and Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly,” respectively. The documentaries are built around interviews with the alleged victims of Michael Jackson (two [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content